Building Community Through Better Relationships

The Next Best Idea

Biz Team Ideas

Great leaders do not have exclusive rights to great ideas! Mediocre leaders definitely do not, regardless how much they believe they do. In making decisions, request ideas with the expectation of exploring them. The purpose is to create an environment of creative problem solving, not placating contributors. Every idea is not good, nor salvageable. But, the right process increases perspectives and ideas for circulation. Progress despises ninth place trophies. Monday’s idea may be dumb, but Wednesday’s idea may be game changing. But the group never gets Wednesday’s idea, if Monday’s ideas are choked. Avoid embracing the second best idea. But, the next idea may be the best for organizational growth.

Trust the Process
Encourage contributions. Leadership conveys authority, not ultimate intelligence. Evaluate and digest each suggestion. Celebrate creativity and input. Effective brainstorming accepts all ideas before a vetting process starts. In many circumstances, time does not permit the acceptance of all ideas. However, by creating the environment where encouraged ideas surface, more ideas emerge under any time constraint because of trust in the process. More ideas, more diverse opinions result in more opportunities for an optimal solution.

Leaders belittling inferior contributions effectively choke future contributions. Not discouraging the idea is vastly different from endorsing inferior input. Accepting and evaluating assorted contributions need to be part of the organizational culture. Contributors with seemingly dumb suggestions often facilitate discussions that challenge assumptions. The possibility clearly existed, but fear of challenging established protocols most likely stifled it. Open processes generate unconventional ideas that lead to innovation. Allow the group to benefit from new ideas.

Reward the Result
Leaders have authority which typically involves making decisions. Weak organizations fixate on making motions and casting votes. Sometimes protocol dictates that process to prevent abuses of power. Other times organizations default to that position to pretend to value all contributions. Still other times, organizations default to mediocrity by cowering behind fairness. But, effective leadership makes decisions! Part of the decision making process is rewarding contributions. Ideally, the expectation becomes that the best executed opportunities will deliver the best results. Give the organization the opportunities to execute the best ideas. Encourage ideas with clear and conspicuous rewards based on open input.

Requesting more input enables more innovation. Many problems result from old assumptions leading to poor performance. Poor performance can be avoided by growing a culture that actively welcomes and rewards the best ideas. Seek the best paths to the most favorable results. Assuming that the leader has all the answers is a recipe for disaster. Leaders make errors. They subscribe to poor theories. Sometimes they genuinely believe lies, then innocently spread them. Consequently, test seemingly bad ideas to unlock potentially valuable insight. Cultivate different perspectives. A different set of assumptions and experiences may result in unexpected value.

Ultimately, leaders who genuinely ask for contributions get them. Dealing with suggestions honestly, respectfully, and authentically creates an environment where suggestions have a chance to contribute to the greater good. All ideas are welcome. They may be discarded. They may be lousy. But, they are welcome. Seek the value in the bad ideas. Challenge assumptions. Leaders may have more authority. They do not have exclusivity to accuracy. Solicit ideas. Be open to new insights. The proposed solution may be lousy. But the next, best idea, that surfaces because the group believed in the process, may be the most valuable of all!

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

May 10, 2017 Posted by | Better Business, Better Communication | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment